Thursday, July 28, 2011

Voter Suppression 2012 - an update on a previous story

Melissa Harris-Perry discusses the GOP plans for VOTER SUPPRESSION 2012 with these VOTER ID Laws popping up around the country.

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An update on a previous Voter Suppression 2012 story. From North Carolina:

N.C. GOP fails to override veto of voter-ID photo mandate

By Gary D. Robertson


Republican lawmakers failed Tuesday to override a veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting an in-person ballot.

The North Carolina House voted on party lines 67-52 in favor of the override, five votes short of what's needed to move it to the Senate. Republicans performed a parliamentary maneuver, however, that keeps the voter ID issue alive.

Republicans argued the photo ID mandate would discourage voter fraud and build the public's confidence in voting. Democrats said the requirement is unnecessary because reports of fraud are few and that it would only lead to voter suppression, particularly among older people, minorities and women.

The override question spurred passionate debate for more than an hour about voting in an era in which citizens show identification to enter government buildings or get on an airplane but only a half-century since blacks in the Jim Crow-era South were discouraged from voting because of the color of their skin.

"This bill is an insult to me. It's an insult to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King," said first-term Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg. "Right now, I feel like my rights have been raped. Yes I do because there is no substantive problem in North Carolina with voter fraud and this is purely, purely an attempt at voter suppression."

Perdue vetoed the measure last month.

"I want to thank the legislators who stood firm in the belief that every North Carolinian has the constitutional right to vote and that the state should not be creating obstacles to stop them," Perdue said in a statement after the vote.

GOP legislative leaders contend polls show strong support for voter ID and that Perdue vetoed the measure to please her Democratic base. Several Republican House members have said voter identification is one of the most important issues to their constituents.

"How can you possibly vote against a requirement where in one instance you have to show a photo ID (in Winston-Salem) to panhandle but not show a photo ID to do the most important and sacred thing that we do as citizens?" said House Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth.

Democrats argue the bill was purely partisan. Others have suggested ID requirements would make it harder for President Obama to win North Carolina's electoral votes next year after winning them for Democrats in 2008 for the first time in 32 years.

Voter fraud is a felony in North Carolina. The State Board of Elections referred 43 cases of potential fraud to district attorneys in 2008 and 21 in 2010. Meanwhile, about 147,100 active black voters do not have photo ID, according to the election reform group Democracy North Carolina. The bill didn't even consider potential fraud problems with obtaining absentee ballots, said House Minority Leader Joe Hackney, D-Orange.

"Everyone is interested in the integrity of the elections and it does appear that common sense says that people should show an ID," said Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina's executive director. "But when you look at the data, there are more people that are hurt that requirement than would be helped."

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